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Nuclear power station clean up costs leap ú8bn

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UK NUCLEAR POWER station clean up costs have risen by ú8bn($15bn) as a result of a more detailed assessment of contaminated facilities, the government's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has revealed.

Estimated clean up costs have risen from $86bn to $101bn.

Operators of the UK's civil nuclear sites, UKAEA and British Nuclear Group, were asked by the NDA last year to draw up an inventory of all liabilities, and to assess decommissioning costs.

The last inventory check was carried out in 2002, and that was incomplete, said an NDA spokesman.

The $15bn leap in anticipated clean up costs refl ects the NDA's more accurate understanding of what must be tackled. But assessments still have to be carried out on waste silos and storage lagoons at the Sellafi eld site in Cumbria, said the spokesman.

'As you develop a greater degree of understanding [of the problems to be tackled] it's inevitable that costs will rise, ' he told NCEI.

Current cost estimates are based on existing plans to defuel reactors and then leave them for up to 100 years so that radioactivity levels fall.

This will then enable people to dismantle them manually.

NDA wants to accelerate decommissioning using advanced technology. This will eliminate long term maintenance and security costs, the NDA said.

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